“A Matter of Life or Death”
We go to great lengths to teach our children all they need to know to be safe in this world. We teach them not to talk to strangers, how to cross a road, not to drink or smoke or use illegal drugs. When they are old enough, we teach them to drive a car. We teach them everything we possibly can so they will be safe and productive in their short and limited physical life, but we put so little emphasis on teaching them what they must know to be spiritually healthy and obtain eternal life. Why? Why do we focus so much energy on the physical and neglect the spiritual. Study after study informs us that our spiritual well-being greatly influences our physical health. God’s teachings provide us with a strength that can get us through the most severe trials of life and fills us with a joy that can overcome the darkest tragedies. Yet, we continue to make the teaching of scripture and spiritual formation a low priority in our children’s education. Why?
Perhaps we have simply lost sight of God’s first and foremost commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). When we work at our jobs so hard that we lack the time or energy for worship and prayer and studying God’s Word, have we not put our job before God? Actually, when we place recreation, social life or anything before spending time with God, we make them lords over our lives and deny God.
So what does the Bible say we should do and why is what the Bible has to say so important? Because God Commands it! When God delivered His people from Egypt He commandments to live by, saying, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). And God’s written Word is not merely a rule book because His Word sustains us and gives us life as is found in Proverbs 7:1-2a: “My child, keep my words and store up my commandments within you. Keep my commandments and live…” And God promises that if we will teach His Word to our children it will make a difference that will last their entire lives, saying in Proverbs 14:26: “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” And why is learning Scripture so vital? The apostle Paul tells us: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work” (Timothy 3:16-17). And if you think that Scripture is unreliable because it has been written by people, Peter assures us, saying, “First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:20-21).
The truth is that God’s Word provides guidance, strength and hope to live our lives as God intended. It teaches us how to live as His children and to live forever. To neglect God’s Word is to neglect our source of life. Proverbs 21:16 states: “A man who strays from the path of understanding comes to rest in the company of the dead.” The simple truth is that studying God’s Word is not optional, but “a matter of life or death.” Choose life!
Your fellow servant in Christ,